8th CiNet Monthly Seminar : Fang FANG, “Perceptual learning and neural plasticity in adult human brain”

CiNet Monthly Seminar

June 5, 2017
16:00 ~ 17:00
CiNet 1F Conference Room

“Perceptual learning and neural plasticity in adult human brain”

School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, Peking University

Host : Hiroshi Ban (Ikegaya Group)

Perceptual learning refers to remarkable performance improvement after intensive training. It is a popular model for studying cortical plasticity. So far, we still do not know much about the neural mechanisms of visual perceptual learning. There is a debate between early-stage theories and late-stage theories. Early-stage theories argue that perceptual learning sharpens the tuning properties of early visual neurons. Late-stage theories argue that perceptual learning reweights the outputs of visual channels for optimal decision making. In my lab, we use psychophysics, magnetic resonance imaging, and transcranical magnetic stimulation to investigate the neural mechanisms of face and motion discrimination learning and contrast detection learning. I report several recent findings: 1) perceptual learning reduces internal neural noise and sharpens cortical tuning to trained stimuli in sensory coding areas; 2) perceptual learning modifies the connections between sensory and higher areas for optimal decision-making; 3) The anatomical structure of sensory cortex could predict the effect of perceptual training; 4) The effects of perceptual learning extend beyond the retuning of specific neural populations that mediate performance of the trained task. Learning can modify the inherent functional specializations of visual cortical areas. 5) Perceptual learning can

Dr. Fang Fang is Chang Jiang Professor of Psychology, dean of the School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, director of Beijing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental Health, and executive associate director of the IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research at Peking University. He obtained a Ph.D. in Cognitive and Biological Psychology at the University of Minnesota in 2006, and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate between 2006 and 2007. His research seeks to understand the neural mechanisms of visual and cognitive processes by combining neuroimaging, psychophysical and computational techniques. Topics under investigation include object and face perception, visual adaptation and learning, perceptual grouping, contextual modulation, visual attention and awareness. He received the Young Investigaor Award: Basic Science from the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS) in 2016. He currently serves on the editorial board for Current Biology, Experimental Brain Research, Frontiers in Perception Science and Science China: Life Sciences.

About CiNet’s Monthly Seminar:
In CiNet Monthly Seminar, distinguished external (national and international) speakers will give a lecture about their latest work. The lecture will be held once a month from 16:00 at the CiNet main lecture theatre, followed by an informal discussion in the coffee room. List of speakers will be announced in advance. Everyone is welcome to attend, and welcome to join the after seminar discussion.

Coming up:
# 9 July 28 (Fri.): TBA
Katsu YAMANE, Disney Research

#10 August 4 (Fri.): TBA
Masanori MATSUZAKI, Gradual School of Medicine, Tokyo University

#11 September 22 (Fri.): Prefrontal Cortex and Conscious Perception
Hakwan LAU, Department of Psychology (Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience) & Brain Research Institute, UCLA

#12 October 13 (Fri.): TBA
Ralph ADOLPHS, California Institute of Technology